Over the past couple of years, smoke bombs have become a popular photography accessory that add a colorful new twist to portraits. They are being used for street portraiture, gender reveals, engagement shoots, and so much more. We found the best smoke bomb for photography usage and in this video, we are going to give you 5 smoke bomb photography tips on how to use them safely and creatively:
Best Smoke Bomb For Photography
After doing some research we concluded that the Enola Gaye WP40 Smoke Grenade is the longest lasting and safest smoke bomb to use for photography. Smoke bomb photography requires a great deal of prep work both before the flare is set off and during the actual process and the Enola Gaye takes the cake when it comes to prioritizing safety and longevity. It’s a wire pull smoke bomb that comes in multiple colors and claims to last approximately 90 seconds and will run you $11 for a single grenade.
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Tip #1: Safety First
Understand that this is essentially fire in a stick and that it’s going to spray sparks and get hot. It is highly advised that you do not use this around anything that is flammable – which means all those portrait photographers using it out in the fields, shame on you. Stay clear of dry brush or nature because as Smokey the Bear says, only you can prevent forest fires. It’s also recommended not to use these indoors or in public spaces. Enola Gaye actually recommends people wear face and eye protection but as you’ve seen from most photos online, there is none of that going on.
How To Use A Smoke Bomb
Before you get too excited about actually being able to start with your smoke bomb photography journey, watch the step-by-step procedure of how to fire off a smoke bomb in the video above. The center column of the smoke bomb is where all the heat is stored and can cause small burns after the bomb has been exhausted.
Tip #2: Set Up Your Shot First
Although Enola Gaye has rated these smoke bombs to last 90 seconds, we found after testing about 20 of them that they last anywhere from 70-80 seconds. For smoke bomb photography, that means you want to set up your lighting, composition, pose, and everything else ready to go before you pull the cable.
Tip #3: Things Can Get Messy
When the smoke is coming out there is a lot of powder that comes along with it, this is what makes smoke bomb photography so dynamic. If there is any wind or the smoke bomb is angled back towards the body, there is the potential it can stain light colored clothing which will put you in a difficult spot if you don’t have a change of clothes.
Tip #4: Pulling the Ring
Angle the smoke bomb away from the body and grip it towards the bottom 1/3 of the column. As we mentioned above, there will be some initial sparks flying so hold it away from the body for a couple of seconds and then use as needed. Smoke bomb photography requires timing and patience to get it done well and done safely.
Tip #5: Remember the Delay
Once the cable is pulled, you’ll have to wait 5-10 seconds before you have usable smoke that will fill the frame. We recommend having an assistant with you to help pull the cable, especially if you firing off multiple smoke bombs.
Bonus Tip: Instruct The Subject to Move Freely
Once the smoke bomb is lit, if a lot of smoke goes into your subject’s face it can cause them to tear up and it doesn’t necessarily smell good. Instruct them that they can move around and move the smoke bombs as well to avoid having the smoke blow into their eyes/face. Adding action into the shots is what makes smoke bomb photography so interesting and why this accessory has gained its popularity.
Try out the Enola Gaye WP40 so we can see your results and use code SLREG10 for 10% off! If you are interested to see more from these shoots and learn about the lighting techniques use, sign up to be the first to know when our highly anticipated Lighting 300 Series releases!
What other questions do you have about smoke bomb photography?